I’ve read a lot of cover letters throughout my career. When I was a fellowship program manager, I reviewed them in consideration for more than 60 open positions each year. So I saw it all—the good, the bad, and the standout examples that I can still remember.

As a result, I’ve become the go-to friend when people need feedback on their job applications. Based on my own experience putting people in the “yes” (and “no”) pile, I’m able to give these cover letters a quick scan and immediately identify what’ll turn a hiring manager off.

While I can’t give you insight into every person’s head who’ll be reading your materials, I can share with you the feedback that I give my own loved ones.

1. The Basics

First things first, I skim the document for anything that could be disqualifying. That includes typos, a “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To Whom It May Concern” salutation, or a vibe so non-specific that it reeks of find-replace. I know it seems harsh, but when a hiring manager sees any one of these things, she reads it as, “I didn’t take my time with this, and I don’t really care about working here.” So, she’s likely to pass.

Another thing I look for in this initial read through is tone. Even if you’re applying to your dream company, you don’t want to come off like you think someone entertaining your candidacy is the same as him offering you water at the end of a lengthy hike. You don’t need to thank the hiring manager so incredibly much for reading your application—that’s his job. If you align considering your application with the biggest favor ever, you’ll make the other person think it’s because you’re desperate.

So, skip effusive thanks and demonstrate genuine interest by writing a cover letter that connects the dots between your experience and the requirements of the position. Telling the reader what you’ve accomplished and how it directly translates to meeting the company’s needs is always a better use of space than gushing.

2. The Opening Sentence

If your first line reads: “I am writing to apply for [job] at [company],” I will delete it and suggest a swap every time. (Yes, every single time.) When a hiring manager sees that, she won’t think, “How thoughtful of the applicant to remind me what I’m reading!” Her reaction will be much closer to, “boring,” “meh,” or even “next!”

Compare it to one of these statements:

  • “I’ve wanted to work in education ever since my third grade teacher, Mrs. Dorchester, helped me discover a love of reading.”
  • “My approach to management is simple: I strive to be the kind of leader I’d want to work for.”
  • “In my three years at [prior company], I increased our average quarterly sales by [percentage].”

See how these examples make you want to keep reading? That’s half the battle right there. Additionally, it makes you memorable, which’ll help when you’re competing against a sea of applicants.

To try it out for yourself, pick a jumping off point. It could be something about you or an aspect of the job description that you’re really drawn to. Then, open a blank document and just free write (translation: write whatever comes to mind) for 10 minutes. Some of the sentences you come up with will sound embarrassing or lame: That’s fine—no one has to see those! Look for the sentence that’s most engaging and see how it reads as the opening line for your cover letter.

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Like the dreaded “Tell me about yourself,” the question, “Why are you interested in this position?” is sure to come up in an interview.

And, even if it doesn’t, if you want the job you should get this sentiment across regardless. So, really, there’s no way around figuring out how to string together a coherent thought about why this being in this position makes sense for you (and for the company).

Luckily, there’s actually a pretty simple way to go about answering this question effectively without having to go through every big moment or transition in your life and career that’s brought you to this interview. Here’s a smart framework for how you should structure your answer.

Step 1: Express Enthusiasm for the Company

First things first, this is an excellent opportunity for you to show off what you know about the company. You can talk all day about how excited you are about joining the team, but nothing will trump actually knowing a thing or two about the place you’re interviewing with. So, to prepare, spend some time honing in on what you know about the company and select a few key factors to incorporate into your pitch for why you’re a good fit.

Say you’re interviewing for a small quantitative asset management company. The start of your answer might sound something like this:

The first thing that caught my eye when I saw the position posted was definitely that it was at EFG Advisers. I know that you build a lot of your tools in-house, the team is small, and you run a variety of long- and short-term strategies in the U.S. equities markets using a quantitative approach.

Especially with smaller companies, it’s always impressive when a candidate knows a thing or two about what goes on at the company. And the best thing about this is you rarely have to go beyond reviewing the company website or having a quick conversation with a current or past employee to learn enough to sound like you’ve been following the company for a while.

Step 2: Align Your Skills and Experiences With the Role

Next, you want to sell why, exactly, you’re right for the role. There are two ways you can do this: You can either focus more on your experiences (what you’ve done before that brings you to this point) or your skills (especially helpful if you’re pivoting positions or industries).

Try to pinpoint what the main part of the role entails, plus a couple of the “desired skills” in the job description, and make sure you speak to that. Follow up your introduction to how excited you are about the company with why you’re a good fit:

But the part that really spoke to me about this position was the chance to combine both the programming skills I gained from being a senior software engineer and my knack for quantitative analysis in a position that actively lets me engage with my growing interest in investing and portfolio management.

Keep it short—you’ll have plenty of opportunities to talk about how you got your skills or relevant stories throughout the interview—and just focus on highlighting a couple key relevant abilities or experiences for the position.

Step 3: Connect to Your Career Trajectory

Finally, you want to show that the position makes sense for where you’re going in your career. Ideally, you won’t give the impression that you’re just using the position as a stepping stone. Show that you’ll be around for the long haul, and your interviewer will feel more comfortable investing in you:

I’ve been interested in switching to finance for a while now and have been actively managing my own personal portfolio for a few years. Joining a quant shop makes sense to me because I think it’s one of the few places where I’ll still be able to use my technical skills and spend my day thinking about finance. I’m really excited to learn more and see how I’ll be able to contribute the firm.

Of course, you don’t have to state specifically that you see yourself in the position for a long time. Just show that you’ve given some thought to how the job makes sense for you now and that it continues to make sense for the foreseeable future.

String these three components together, and you have a response that will impress on three fronts: your knowledge and enthusiasm for the company, your relevant skills, and your general fit with the position. Plus, this framework has the added benefit of not stopping the flow of the conversation the way going through your entire life story would.

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This may seem like a softball, get to know you question—but really it’s your chance to make an unbelievable first impression.

So don’t just spout of random anecdotes about your life or—worse—recite your resume (they already know that information!). We know it’s hard to brag about yourself, but you need to use this question to make it crystal clear why you’re awesome and why you’re the perfect person for this job.

Transcript

Interviewer: Have a seat. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Jimmy: Well, you know, I always say I make a very big first impression. You’d probably be surprised to know that my first word was [beep].

Interviewer: You may be tempted to tell your whole life story, but don’t. Interviewers really don’t want to hear it. Let’s try that again.

Jimmy: [Sigh] This question’s always so hard…

Interviewer: We know. Talking about yourself is a little hard, but it’s kind of the point of an interview. So let’s try that again, but this time, with a little more confidence.

Jimmy: My name is Alex Green and you can reach me at [email protected] From 2009…

Interviewer: Yikes. Don’t just recite your resume, either. Your response to this question should be like a mini elevator pitch. Here, try the present, past, future structure. This is one sentence highlighting what you’re doing today, one sentence highlighting a relevant past experience, and a third sentence highlighting exactly why you’re excited for this job.

Jimmy: Well, I currently work as a content marketer where I help promote brands by creating blog posts, ebooks, and videos. In the past, I’ve worked with all sorts of marketing channels, from social media to emails. I’m really, really excited about this opportunity, where I’ll get to combine all of those experiences to help a startup like yours grow.

Credit : themuse.com

These are a couple of tips needed by interviewees to survive the rigorous interview sessions organised by employers.

Job hunt is a very stressful aspect of one’s life; it takes motivation and being positive to get the right and dream job. Interviews usually bring tense to job seekers. The more confident you feel, the more chances of gaining the interviewer attention.

Be poised and hold your head high with these useful interview tips:

1.) Body Postures

Usually the mind controls all our actions and movement, but it is possible to use the body to trick the mind into feeling a certain way. Slouching or slumping and crossing your arms are all examples of closed off postures, and when we feel small, we tend to exhibit these poses. If you spend a little time opening yourself up and exhibiting the postures of the confident, you can build a sense of assurance just by your actions. Spend several minutes practicing “power poses,” or opening yourself up, spreading your arms, walking tall, and looking the part.

2.) Be audible while speaking and put a smile

If you are not audible enough while speaking, Practice deep breathing, this will relax your diaphragm and your vocal cords, which will result in a voice with more resonance and a somewhat lower tone and more breath to give power to your speech.

I recommend adding a few singing lessons, the instructor can teach you how to use the cavities in your head to create even more resonance. Once the interview starts, it’s extremely difficult to correct our speaking problems because we may be too nervous or we just plain don’t notice them. Practice speaking your answers out loud so you can hear your voice and correct any nervous intonations, pitch problems, or pacing issues before you go to your interview.

Smiling reduces stress that your body and mind feel, almost similar to getting good sleep, according to recent studies. And smiling helps to generate more positive emotions within you. Smile often before your interview to get in the habit of doing so, and you’ll feel more comfortable offering a genuine smile while you’re greeted and when you’re being interviewed.

3.) Prepare, Practice and Rehearse answers loudly

Before going for any interview invitation, you must be fully prepared. Being prepared for interview gives a feeling of confidence. You should be well-equipped, rehearse potential interview answers with a friend. “Look at the skills, experience, knowledge and personal qualities you have and think of examples showing how you developed these.

4.) Win over your anxiety and fear

For some job seekers, nerves can be disabling. Something happens when they walk through the door of the interviewer’s office. Cold sweat trickles down the back of their knees. Their minds draw a blank when asked basic questions like, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?” or, “Why would you like to work for this company above all others?”

These candidates feel like they’re back at school in front of a crowded assembly, unable to make those words pass their lips. The easiest way to combat fear is by not using excuses. Instead, you need to look for positive approaches to accomplish your goal. Don’t let fear, nerves and stage fright keep you from the job interview you want. “Sometimes nerves take over and you don’t show who you are.”

5.) Dress appropriately

Before you say a single word to the interviewer, you have already made an impression based on how you’re dressed. Every company has a different dress code; how you dress at the job may have very little to do with how you dress for an interview. Dress in a manner that is professionally appropriate to the position for which you are applying. In almost all cases, this means wearing a suit. A dark-colored suit with light colored shirt is your best option.

Source: Tori.ng

When you’re searching for a job, it can be easy to get so focused on getting hired that you overlook the red flags that can reveal a job or a company isn’t the right fit for you. That’s a dangerous mindset to have, because it can mean that you end up in a job that makes you dread going to work each day.

Here are seven job search red flags that people often ignore, to their detriment.

The person who would be your boss is rude. Your boss will have an enormous impact on your day-to-day quality of life at work, as well as on things like what projects you get, how visible they are, what kind of recognition you receive, future raises, what professional development you have access to and more. That means that your boss’s character and way of operating is hugely important, and it’s crucial that you use the interview process to assess what kind of manager you’d be working for. If your prospective boss is rude or disrespectful, assume that won’t let up once you’re hired (if anything, it’s likely to get worse). Watch out for the following types of disrespect in particular:

  • Seeming put out when you ask questions about the job or the workplace culture
  • Acting as if you should be grateful you’re being considered
  • Disparaging your skills or past work
  • Asking you to do unreasonable things, such as interviewing with only a few hours notice, without any acknowledgement or apology

You feel uneasy about your ability to do the job well. When you’re anxious to get a job, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that your goal isn’t just to get hired, but rather to get hired for a job that you’ll do well in. Otherwise, you can end up struggling and miserable at work, or even getting fired, which can make getting your next job much more difficult. Even if these worst-case scenarios don’t happen, being in a job that isn’t a great fit means that you’re unlikely to have the kind of accomplishments that will help you reach the next level in your career. If you have real concerns about your ability to excel at the job you’re interviewing for – not normal nerves, but genuine doubts that you can do what the employer is looking for – it’s probably better to withdraw from consideration and focus on jobs that play to your strengths.

No one has been able to tell you quite what the job will entail. If the employer can’t clearly explain exactly what you’d be doing if hired, that’s a danger sign. It can mean that the job is likely to change drastically after you’ve already been hired, possibly to something that you don’t want to spend your days doing or aren’t good at. It can mean that they’ll realize they don’t need the position at all, even if you’ve already quit a previous job and started working for them. And if they’re unable to explain what doing the job successfully would look like or how they’ll decide if you’re doing it well, it can mean that you’ll be left to flounder with no clear direction and be held to vague standards that never quite get articulated.

The interviewer doesn’t interview you. An interviewer who doesn’t ask many questions about your work experience is an interviewer who isn’t equipped to make a smart hiring decision. If you’re offered a job by a company that knows little about you and hasn’t made much effort to learn more, you’re taking a risk that once you’re on the job, it will turn out that the role or company isn’t right for you.

Online reviews of the company are overwhelmingly awful. Sites like Glassdoor.com, where people can leave reviews of their employers, aren’t always 100 percent reliable. People’s reviews are subjective, and a disgruntled employee might paint a very different picture than the reality. However, if a company has a significant number of reviews and they’re overwhelmingly negative, that’s worth paying attention to.

You have a terrible gut feeling. If you feel uneasy every time you think about the job or the manager, listen to your gut. Those alarm bells are often based on things that you’re picking up subconsciously, and it’s far better to walk away now than get stuck in a job that will make you miserable.

You’re pressured to accept the offer on the spot. Good employers will give you time to think over a job offer. They want you to have time to make sure that the job and offer are right to you, because they want to make good hires and not have people itching to leave after a few months. Employers who pressure you to accept on the spot or before the day is over are pushing you to do something that isn’t in your best interest. Be very wary.

Credit : usnews.com

If you’re thinking about taking a new step in your career, your resume’s probably high on your mind. When’s the last time you updated it? How will you transfer the skills from your current job or industry to a new one? How will you set yourself apart from other candidates? How long and horrible will this revision process actually be?

Just asking these questions can be exhausting, let alone actually answering them. And, if you’re not fresh off the job search, the thought of thinking everything through and creating an interview-worthy resume can be exhausted.

Fear not! We’ve come up with the 20 basic rules that will get you that much closer to success.

1. Keep it to One Page

This is a biggie! If a hiring manager’s spending six seconds looking at your resume, he or she might not even get to the second page! Unless you’re applying to be an executive or a partner somewhere, one page will be sufficient and is a widely accepted “best practice.” To cut it down, remember the purpose of it—it’s not to showcase everything you’ve ever done, but rather to show that you have the background, skills, and experience for the job at hand.

2. Avoid Spelling or Grammar Errors

Another biggie. There are some recruiters who will discount your resume the second they see a spelling or grammar error. Although it can be painful, make sure you don’t just read over your resume several times, but also that you have a friend take a peek, too.

3. Watch Your Tenses

This is another common error that can really hurt you in the eyes of hiring managers. As a general rule, if something on your resume is in the past, use the past tense (managed, delivered, organized) and if you are still actively in the role, use the present tense (manage, deliver, organize).

4. Avoid the First Person Pronouns

As a general practice, don’t use words like “I” or “me” or “my.” So, instead of saying “I hit and exceeded company sales quotas 100% of the time” say “Hit and exceeded sales quotas 100% of the time.”

5. Send Your Resume as a PDF

Saving your resume as a PDF (rather than a Word dand yocument) freezes it as an image so that you can be sure hiring managers see the same formatting as you. If you send it any other way, there’s a chance that the styling, format, font, and so on, could look different on their computer than yours.

6. Label Your Resume File Correctly

Too many people save this important document with random or generic file names like sgks123.pdf or resume.pdf. Remember that recruiters can see the name of the file that you send them and also remember that they get tons of resumes every day. Make it super clear whose resume they should click on by saving it under a logical name like FirstName_LastName_Resume.pdf.

7. Format in a Logical Structure

Even more important than naming the file in a logical manner is laying out your resume in a logical manner. How you lay it out really depends on where you are in your career path and what you’re looking to do next. While chronological the default, it’s not always the best way to make your case. Muse writer Lily Zhang lays out the other options that might work better for you.

8. Make Sure It’s Easy to Read

You might be tempted to just shrink the text to get your resume to fit on a page. (Which is funny, because remember all those times in school when you made it 12.5 to make it longer? Life!) While you can adjust the size to some degree, never go below 10-point font.

9. Keep it Organized and Visually Appealing

Remember how hiring managers usually spend just six seconds looking at your resume? Help them maximize that time by making your resume super clear and easy-to-read. You want each section bolded (maybe capitalized) and each job title bolded. Make your life easier by using a template.

10. Keep it Consistent

Just like you want your verb tenses to be consistent throughout, it’s also important that the formatting is, too. If one title’s bold, the other titles should be bold. If one bullet point has a period at the end, the other bullet points should have that as well.

11. Include Context

When you list out your experience, be sure to include context. What city, state (or country) did this job take place in. Did you travel and operate in multiple cities? What dates did you have that experience? Was it for five months or five years? Context matters!

12. Quantify as Much as Possible

Anyone can say that he or she excelled at his or her last job. So, you need to prove to the hiring manager that you truly did. Numbers, percentages, and supporting facts go a long way in showing that you have a track record of success. For example, rather than saying “successfully hit sales quotas” as a bullet point in your resume you should say “successfully hit sales quotas 100% of the time and exceeded goals by 25% in the last 5 months.” You can even do this if your position doesn’t involve using numbers.

13. Name Drop (and Title Drop) Like You’ve Never Done Before

This is your chance to brag. If you got a promotion or a raise because of your performance, you should mention it. If you worked with the CEO of the company or were a point of contact for a large, corporate customer, mention their names! This goes a long way in showing that you can run with important people. It shows that you’re confident. It shows that you’re capable. (Of course, make sure you’re presenting the facts accurately and not exaggerating.)

14. Don’t Include References

Don’t use any of your precious space to include the names and contact info for your references (or to write things like “references available upon request”). This document’s for recruiters to decide if they want to talk to you, not your references. If they get to the point in the application process where they want to speak to these people, they will reach out to you and ask for those names. Until then, no need to mention.

15. Use Your Judgement When it Comes to Creativity

Some industries are more creative than others. If you’re working in digital media or design or elementary school education, it might make sense for your resume to be creative and colored. If you’re applying for a job in finance, operations, or most corporate jobs, you probably want to keep it black and white and structured. Be thoughtful when it comes to your creativity (or lack thereof).

16. Don’t List Everything You’ve Ever Done

There should be a purpose for every word. When you’re writing and editing, ask yourself this question, “Will this sentence help me get the job I want?” If not, you should consider editing that sentence or removing it.

17. Think About the Person Reading Your Resume

It’s important to remember that there’s a real person reading this. And it’s also important to remember that it’s her job to find awesome candidates to interview and present to her boss or team. It’s also not her job to do you any favors. So you should think about her when you’re writing your resume. How can you make her job easier? How can you write your resume in such a way that she gets excited when she sees it, thinks you’re perfect for the job, and is willing to put herself out there by presenting you to her team.

18. Think About What Makes You Different

It’s important that you be yourself during the application process (obviously putting your best foot forward). This includes what you write on your application materials. Don’t hesitate to show who you really are, your likes and interests, your personality, what makes you unique, and so on. While this definitely requires some judgment calls (for example, expressing personality when applying for a traditional role in a traditional industry might not be the best move) it could ultimately be the thing that sets you apart and gets you hired.

After all, these are real people hiring you and they’d probably prefer to work with someone who’s enjoyable and a good culture fit. And if your personality isn’t a fit for the job, you probably wouldn’t have been happy there any way so it works out for everyone.

19. Think About the Specific Job You’re Applying To

One of my favorite tricks to help communicate that you are the perfect person for a job is to read the job description and list out key phrases. Then, when you’re writing or editing your resume, find ways to incorporate those words and phrases from the desired job description into your resume. This can be super useful when a machine or human recruiter skims it.

20. Think of This as a Storytelling Document

Many of the tips that I’ve mentioned all point to the general idea that your resume should clearly and concisely tell the story of “you”—helping hiring managers understand why you’re the right person for the job. This is, in fact, the entire purpose. Ultimately, when you re-read and edit it, make sure that it tells the story of your background, the skills you gained along the way, the experiences that you’ve had, and makes it crystal clear why you’ve ended up where you are today and why the role that they are hiring for is the perfect next step for you.

Yes, this is a lot. The good news is that you’re not alone in the process. The job search is hard, so make sure you’re reaching out to friends and family for support (or, even just for distractions). And, if you think you might want a more professional second set of eyes on your materials, Muse Coach Connect can set you up with an expert who offers resume writing services. Just remember, that when you’re feeling overwhelmed—and 20 rules can do that to you—that following these guidelines gives you a huge head start among all the other applicants.

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We’ve all been there: It’s the end of the interview, and after nearly an hour of pouring your heart (and work experience) out to a potential employer, the hiring manager asks if you have any last questions before wrapping up.

It’s meant to be a formality, of course—a way to end the conversation without kicking you out right then and there. But it’s also an opportunity, intentional or not, to make one final impression and give your interviewer something to remember you by.

As Marshall Darr points out in this short piece on Medium, this final remark is actually a moment to “add value to the conversation” before you both head your separate ways. It’s especially noteworthy when you do manage to pull that off, since so many other candidates, having already asked many questions throughout the session, mindlessly shrug off this little last thing at the end.

But if you play your cards right, he says, it can turn a completely lost cause into a foot in the door. According to Darr, you should wrap things up nicely with this question:

“Actually yeah, I was wondering what your best moment so far at [Company Name] was?”

This simple ask, cleverly masked as innocent curiosity, can give you many important insights—on your interviewer’s values, the company, and how well you might fit in with a position there. Think about it: There’s no higher note to end on than with your interviewer’s fondest memory of the company, a feeling that can now be subconsciously associated with your prospects as a future employee.

And aside from being an emotional plus for you, it’ll also give you an idea of what your future co-workers might value, and the kind of culture that company cultivates for its team members. If your interviewer struggles to come up with a meaningful memory, that’s a helpful red flag for you to keep in mind if you end up with an offer.

So, the next time you’re hard-pressed for something to say in those awkward few moments before the door closes with you on the other side, give this question a shot. Odds are, it can only help.

Credit : themuse.com

Have you been at your job for a long time? That’s both a good and a bad thing. It’s good to have a stable job, but it can also be bad if you start to relax too much. Once you’ve been at a job for a while, it’s tempting to get comfortable. Unfortunately, if you get too comfy at your job, you can sometimes develop horrible work habits. Here are three bad habits you need to stop practicing today.

1. Showing up late

Maybe you’re not a morning person, but you’re going to have to learn to wake up earlier if you want to keep your job. Consistently arriving after your agreed-upon start time not only shows lack of discipline but also disrespect for your manager and co-workers. Roughly one in four workers (25%) admitted to being late to work at least once a month. Even worse, about 13% said they’re late once a week, according to a recent Career Builder survey. If you have a valid reason for the lateness, arrange a meeting with your boss to explain your situation. Most of the time, ignoring the problem and hoping it will go unnoticed will not work in your favor. An employer will eventually grow weary of your lateness and fire you for disregarding company policy. One in five of employers surveyed by CareerBuilder (21%) said they have fired an employee for tardiness.

2. Dressing poorly

There’s no excuse for looking sloppy at work. How you look matters because it shows that you respect your employer and you are serious about your job. Simply throwing on whatever falls out of your closet isn’t a great idea. Perrie Samotin, editorial director at fashion site StyleCaster, said dressing well for work is a must, even if you work in a casual environment.

3. Refusing to be a team player

Even if you don’t like people, it’s important to learn to work well with your co-workers. Being uncooperative, unavailable, or just plain rude is a sure way to kill your career. Work on improving your attitude or do some soul-searching to see if your job or your career are really the best fit for you. Leadership expert Peter B. Stark said having team spirit is necessary for the success of a company. “Team members do not have to like teamwork. They do not even have to believe that the formation of the team was a good idea. But team members are supposed to do everything that they can, in their particular job, to make the team successful. That is their job,” said Stark.

Credit : cheatsheet.com

What’s scarier than an in-person interview?

A group in-person interview. Not only do you have to impress your potential employer, but you also have to focus on differentiating yourself and your skill set from those around you—without coming off as rude. While it definitely takes a little bit more prep work, it’s possible to ace this part of the process. Really!

To find out what actual employers think, we asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to share what they like to see candidates do in a group setting. Their best advice is below.

1. Be Yourself

Candidates should be genuine. The landscape of professionalism is changing across the country, and we want people who aren’t afraid to bring the positive attributes of their personality to the office. Stay loose, and let the real you shine through. If it doesn’t work out (i.e., you don’t get the job), there probably wasn’t much of a match, and you’re better off in the long run.

—Michael Spinosa, Unleashed Technologies

2. Provide Unique Examples and Accomplishments

In this setting, you likely will only have the opportunity to answer a couple of questions. So make these answers count. Highlight specific accomplishments not just with numbers, but with visual stories that are easily remembered. Also, ask questions of the interviewers that show you’re interested in them as people. This will help you and create a positive, real relationship.

—Alan Carniol, Interview Success Formula

3. Be Polite to Everyone

Focus on being polite and friendly with everyone—not just the hiring team. Along with skill set and qualifications, the hiring team’s also looking at your ability to behave under pressure, work with others, and demonstrate confidence. We look for candidates who treat everyone with respect and friendliness, not candidates who try to take power from other people.

—Andrew Thomas, SkyBell Video Doorbell

4. Be Confident and Knowledgeable

Appearing comfortable in what can be an uncomfortable situation for some is impressive. I want to hire people who are smarter than I am in their fields. Prove to me you’re an expert and worth hiring. I want someone who is going to crush his job and make our company grow!

—Stanley Meytin, True Film Production

5. Show You Care About Teamwork

Group interviews are a great time to look into the team aspect of a company, for employees and employers alike. You should be asking questions about how you’ll fit in with the group, how the team works together, how you can help the team, and more. Employers will be impressed that you want to be part of their team dynamic and are more likely to say ‘you’re hired’ than if you focus on your individual abilities.

—Elle Kaplan, LexION Capital

6. Point Out Problems and Their Solutions

If we’re hiring for a specific position—like HR or project management—I’d expect that candidate to come to the interview with specific solutions to problems we didn’t even know existed. By doing the homework on our business, it shows you care about the job. Nobody wants to hire someone he needs to spend more than a few weeks teaching. The best ideas always win.

—Michael Portman, Birds Barbershop

7. Demonstrate Clarity of Thought

Demonstrate clarity of thought and a winning personality in response to unusual situations and questions. When we conduct job interviews, we ask, ‘When was the last time you made someone smile?’ The answer tells us a lot more about the candidate’s attributes than a resume, references, and traditional questions.

—Nitin Chhoda, In Touch EMR

8. Prove You’re Curious

At Y Scouts, we often conduct group interviews with leadership candidates. There’s a direct correlation between a positive impression and the amount of research a candidate conducts going into the interview. They know who the people are in the room before walking through the door. They have prepared questions that fill in the blanks for the data they couldn’t uncover. In short, they’re curious.

—Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

9. Bring Up Side Projects

I love seeing side projects from potential candidates. Even if a person isn’t qualified, seeing his creativity and marketing skills is something that’s much more important to me. So I tend to look for someone who has done amazing projects on his own before.

—Ben Lang, Mapme

10. Show Up Early

Make sure you’re the first one there. Chances are you will get some one-on-one face time with the interviewer so that you can hopefully start building rapport before everyone else shows up! And, even if you don’t get the opportunity to speak one-on-one, it’s likely that the hiring manager will remember your preparation and eager arrival.

—Brandon Stapper, 858 Graphics

11. Blend In

There’s nothing more important to us than our culture. We are diverse, yet maintain a certain energy and attitude that we hold dear. During a group interview, aptitude, competency, and answering questions properly are often less important than whether or not an individual is fitting in with the group. It is so vital to us that a candidate feel like a member of our team before she becomes part of it.

—Blair Thomas, EMerchantBroker

12. Make Us Remember You

Most important thing to do if you want to get the job? Tell us what you can do for us. An interview is a chance for a job applicant to share her talents, skills, and ideas; it’s her time to wow us. You need to make sure you’ve done your research and that you know everything you can about our company and clients. Stand out and make an impression that we can’t forget.

—Leila Lewis, Be Inspired PR

13. Share What You’re Passionate About

As part of the hiring process, we ask potential candidates to give a ‘passion presentation’ in which they share something they’re passionate about for a few minutes. One of the most impressive passion presentations involved an original song performed on guitar. That’s not to say everyone needs to be a musician, but we do notice people who surprise us with creativity.

—Simon Berg, Ceros

14. Demonstrate That You’re a Team Player

Trying your hardest to steal the limelight and impress everyone won’t do the trick in a group interview setting. Engage in the conversation, be yourself, and show us that you can work and thrive as a team member. Prove to us that you will be a great addition not only because of your ability to produce great results, but also because of your ability to build relationships and work in a team.

—David Tomas, Cyberclick

15. Do Your Homework

The most impressed I’ve been in a group interview was with an applicant who printed out our website and brought it along for reference. From reviewing the staff page, she immediately knew everyone’s role in the room and each of our backstories and products. She didn’t need to say she was detail-oriented or would be a good learner. Instead, she demonstrated those things. That was huge.

—Corey Northcutt, Northcutt Inbound Marketing

16. Describe the Worst Job You’ve Ever Had

Show me you’ve been in the trenches. Show me you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get the job. Those are the people I want. Most entrepreneurial jobs nowadays start out being all about the spade work, or at least they should. If you’re not willing to put the time in and do the work most people do not want to do, then you’re simply not cut out for the job.

Credit : themuse.com

We all know that how hard is to get the job interview call and no job interview is flawless. We all do some mistakes in the job interview and the better practice for preparing ourselves is to learn from the other’s mistakes.

In this article, we are trying to focus on the most common mistakes anyone can make in an interview.

So here is the list of the most common interview mistakes, errors and blunders people make. Read them closely and avoid if you are making any of these mistakes as I had done many of them in the past.

  • Dressing inappropriately according to the workplace
  • Arriving late for the interview
  • Forgetting the name of the interviewer
  • Your mouth stinks (might be you were smoking cigarette outside office premises just before interview time)
  • Lack of a good preparation
  • Wearing shades in the office
  • Applying lots of deodorant or perfume
  • Wearing a Bluetooth earpiece
  • Speaking rudely to the receptionist or interviewer
  • Staring regularly at receptionist
  • Poor communication skills
  • Lack of research of the employer in advance
  • Forgetting to bring a copy of your resume
  • Bringing photocopy of your resume rather than printed version
  • Complaining that you are kept waiting
  • Taking the seat before your interviewer
  • Forgetting what you have written in the resume
  • Failing to highlight your achievement
  • Inappropriate body language
  • Failing to listen carefully what interviewer is asking
  • Not asking for clarification when you don’t understand the question
  • Not being prepared with the appropriate questions to ask in the end of the interview
  • Bad mouthing about your past employers
  • Lying about your experience, skills and knowledge
  • Talking too much or very less
  • Interrupting the interviewer in between of a conversation
  • Don’t tell personal stories when asked “tell me about yourself”
  • Too early to ask about the salary
  • Being unprofessional and non-serious while giving the interview
  • Not asking about the next interviewing process
  • Attending calls in an interview
  • Failure to show an interest in the job
  • Be honest and humble – Don’t be over-confident
  • Failing to show enthusiasm
  • Asking for job benefits very soon
  • Not able to convince why you are the best person for this job
  • Not preparing yourself to answer the regular questions
  • Not able to match the communication style of your interviewer
  • Yawning  and sitting in relaxed position
  • Bringing your parents or friends in an interview
  • Chewing gum or tobacco
  • Playing with your pen, pencils or paperweight
  • Bitting your nails
  • Always saying “hmmm”, “you know”, “actually”, “basically”
  • Sounding like you know-it-all
  • Offering to shake hands first
  • Shaking hands firmly or too weakly like a formality
  • Not able to make eye-contact or continuously making eye-contact with the interviewer
  • Becoming over defensive or angry
  • Not able to hide your nervousness
  • Explaining too much about why you want to left your last job
  • Sounding die-hard to get the job
  • Not asking the job details
  • Checking the time again and again
  • Forget to switch off the mobile or put it in silent mode
  • Sounding like that you are rehearsed too much (copy book answers)
  • Last but not the least, following up after the interview

So these are some of the most common interviews mistakes which we always do while giving an interview. So how did you do, have you committed any of these mistakes? This time try not-to-do all these mistakes if you don’t want to miss the opportunity and screw it up.

Finally, even if you were not able to make up the interview, don’t take it to heart. I think everyone in his or her life has been failed one or twice in an interview including me. So learn from your mistakes and look forward to the next opportunity.

Finishing college is a big accomplishment, and for many people, a big relief. College can be a lot of fun, but some people are just ready to start their careers and start the next phase of their lives. Whether you’re ready or not, you will need to move forward after college. If you are still attending, then you need to be sure to stay on budget while you are in school. Once you graduate though, making wise choices in your job search and at your first job, and smart financial decisions, will help set you up for a successful life and career. On the other hand, spending money like you will never run out, or failing to appreciate your first job and learn as much as possible, can set you down a bad path that can be hard to come back from. Here are five mistakes you want to avoid.

1. Failing to take your job search seriously

Ideally, you will have a job set up before you graduate. If you don’t, you will want to make finding one your top priority. According to USA Today, you can get a job coach, and also network and reach out to people at a company that you want to work for. Don’t make the mistake of assuming a job will simply fall into your lap; you need to get out there and apply.

Also, be careful of taking just any job. While you have to pay your bills, you will be in a much better place career-wise if you can find a job in your field. This is another reason why you should start searching early.

2. Coasting at your first job

Landing a job is a big deal, but don’t assume that just because you get a job, you will keep it. It’s important to work hard and prove that you deserve to be at the company. Particularly when you are working at your first job, you want to establish yourself as an asset to the company. Being lazy or doing the bare minimum will only hurt you later.

Even if your first job isn’t ideal, you can still make the most of it: learn as much as you can, grow professionally, and network. You never know how your hard work will pay off. Even if your first job isn’t as interesting as you want, or isn’t at the level that you want, working hard and showing that you are a loyal and innovative team member may lead to just the job you do want.

3. Spending money impulsively

Once you have a job, it can be exciting to spend the money you make. Having a lot of money for the first time can be exhilarating and it can be very dangerous as well. As tempting as it is to go out and buy a new car, new furniture, and splurge on many dinners out, try to limit your extravagant spending. You probably have some time before you need to start saving for retirement, but spending wildly just because you have a job won’t pay off in the long run.

According to U.S. News & World Report, you should consider the benefits your employer offers and take advantage of them; also, think about your fixed costs and about your future savings.

4. Ignoring debt

If you took out student loans, you probably have a grace period before you need to start repaying them. If you have other debt you need to pay off, then it’s reasonable to wait to pay off your student loans, especially if you have other debt with higher interest rates. However, it’s a good idea to pay off as much debt as you can now. You don’t need to pay the minimum due for your student loans, and if you have credit card debt, the same is true. The more you can pay off now, the more available funds you will have to save for traveling, a house, or retirement.

When you graduate college, you will most likely have as few responsibilities as you ever will. Now is the time to pay your debt if you can.

5.Forgetting about your health

Yes, you’re young, and it can be tempting to spend money on the things you want instead of investing in health insurance. However, if you are no longer on your parents’ plan (which you usually can be until you are 26 if dependents are covered), you do need to think about coverage. Even if you are still on your parents’ plan, you won’t be forever and you need to look at what plans your company offers and the cost of those plans. Also, it’s important to consider how many years you have before you need to pay for the insurance, or how it will affect your budget.

If your parents can’t cover you, then be sure that you do sign up for coverage. Without health insurance, you risk a serious financial hardship if an expensive health surprise comes your way (this is also a good reason to have an emergency fund).

Also, when you are working full-time, it can be easy to neglect other aspects of your health, such as exercise or diet. Maintaining a healthy diet, and finding time for exercise, will help you save money on expensive health care costs later.

The years after graduating college should be exciting, and you can learn a lot and advance professionally and financially if you avoid financial and career mistakes.

When it comes to acing your job interview, one important piece of the puzzle is how well you answer each question. An insufficient answer could make or break your chances of snagging the job.

Career expert Lavie Margolin said practice makes perfect when it comes to wowing the hiring managers. “Advanced practice will give you an opportunity to think through your work history to have the points you are most proud of and those that apply to your present job search at the forefront of your memory. It will also help you research any information about the position you are interviewing for in advance so that you come across as a serious applicant,” said Margolin in Winning Answers to 500 Interview Questions.

The Cheat Sheet chatted with Lorna Hagen, senior vice president of People Operations at OnDeck, for more insight into the questions to watch out for and how to answer them with grace. Here are the questions Hagen says many candidates don’t get right.

1. Question: Can I get you a cup of coffee? Water?

Common mistake in answering: “Oh, no thank you, I’m fine!”

Example of better way to address the question: “Yes!” Walk with the interviewer to retrieve. This is usually in a separate room from where you’ll be interviewed, so it will give the candidate an opportunity to see more of the office and understand more of the perks and culture. Is there a kitchen with free beverages? Is the office quiet? Are people working in offices, cubicles or community desks? Having this first-hand look allows the candidate to assess the space, the people, the vibe and the culture. It also allows the candidate to determine if it feels like it might be a good fit.

2. Question: Why didn’t you graduate from school?

Common mistake in answering: An emotional response usually happens (financial difficulties, family issues, etc.)

Example of better way to address the question: Candidates need to recall the reason why they left school and then own the decision. Candidates should talk about the personal growth that came from having to make the decision, the lessons learned and experiences gained from the time out of school until present. Showcasing continued learning and advancement regardless of an earned degree can prove attributes that are normally associated with traditional schooling.

3. Question: Why are you leaving your current job? What’s wrong with it?

Common mistake in answering: Talking about the misfortunes of the previous company (I don’t agree with management’s decisions. My boss left so I left. The company was going down the toilet) is never the way to go.

Example of better way to address the question: Candidates need to pivot the conversation and talk about their personal growth, professional goals, and how the new organization can help them achieve this. Talking down about a current or previous employer is an indication that the candidate might do the same to a future employer.

Future employers are testing for judgement with this type of question. Does the candidate know what to share and what not to share? Will the candidate be trustworthy with confidential and proprietary information? At OnDeck, openness is a core value. We also trust our team members to be responsible with proprietary information and to use good judgement when talking about our products, people and processes. It’s paramount for us to find someone who shares these same qualities

4. Question: Tell me about yourself.

Common mistake in answering: Most candidates begin with personal information such as “I was born…” or “My parents…”

Example of a better way to address the question: Although this sounds like a personal question, it’s not. This type of question provides a window into a candidate’s life and offers the opportunity to highlight professional successes and achievements. Candidates should think about the timeline of their professional life and walk the interviewer through the highlights of their resume, but with added context and color. For instance, you can offer a story or anecdote to fill in the blanks as to why you left a certain company or why you relocated.

Credit : cheatsheet.com